Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary Certification

Would you like to create a bird and butterfly sanctuary in your yard?
Your neighborhood?
At your local school, library, church or business?

Do you enjoy attracting wildlife to your home?
Do you maintain the four elements of habitat: Food, Water, Shelter, & Sufficient Space
Would you like to have a beautiful garden blooming with native flowers from early spring throughout the summer and late into the autumn?


If you said yes to any of these questions, then your property can become a Certified Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary. Your sanctuary can be as small as a few native flowers arranged in a few pots on your patio or as large as a few hundred acres. You can also certify a portion of a local school yard, neighborhood park, library gardens, church yard, a farm field or grass strip, or an entire corporate campus.

To help get started, request a copy of “The Journey to Restore Native Habitat.”  Click here to request a copy. 

Or download a copy of The Journey to Restore Habitat right now.

How to certify your backyard or property

  • Understand and maintain the four elements of habitat:  FOOD, SHELTER, WATER, SPACE
  • Agree to use a minimal amount of chemicals
  • Help educate others on the importance of native habitat
  • Send in your application form and $20 fee
  • Mail in the Bird & Butterfly Sanctuary Application form OR apply online using the form below.

NOTE: There is a SAVE and STORE option at the bottom of this form which allows you to save your work and return later to finish. If you choose this option, instructions on how to retrieve your form will display at the bottom of the page.  When you click on SAVE & STORE, scroll down to complete the option.

Certified Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary Application

  • Your yard must have plantings especially suited to attracting birds and butterflies and provide the four basic elements of habitat: Food, Shelter, Water and Space. This may include trees and shrubs to provide nesting cover for birds, berry-producing shrubs, flowers for hummingbirds and butterflies, plants grown specifically for bees and caterpillars. It may also include nest boxes if there is space, and should have a birdbath, small pond or other source of water.
  • You must agree to use a minimal amount of chemicals in maintaining your sanctuary. Many herbicides and pesticides are detrimental to birds, bees and butterflies, and can also be harmful to people and pets.
  • You must use your yard or grounds to educate other people about the importance of bird and butterfly plantings. This can take many forms--simply telling neighbors and visitors about the Illinois Audubon Society Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary Project and showing them the habitat improvements in your yard; giving a presentation to a group concerning the importance of backyard habitat and gardening with natives, or inviting them to view your yard.
  • A plant species list must be included. Certified backyard habitats should contain a significant number of native plantings.
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